Thousands of passengers visiting the Shaheed Sukhdev Thapar Inter-state Bus Terminal here are a harried lot with shops and kiosks' owners overcharging for eatables and other articles.
According to passengers frequenting the bus stand on a daily basis, the overcharging by shopkeepers at bus stand has become a major cause of concern. Ankit Tiwari, a passenger, said purchasing things at the bus stand shops has become an expensive affair for the passengers. They go on to the extent of charging 25% to 40% higher than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) in the markets outside for the things like a packaged drinking water bottle and newspaper.
"When we try to negotiate the price with the vendors, they turn hostile quite often. Not only they overcharge, but also sell stale and sub-standard eatables, which is a direct invitation to various diseases," Ankit added.
There are as many as 60 shops in the form of juice vends, fruit shops, snack kiosks, newspaper stalls, food 'dhabbas' among other kiosks inside the bus stand premises. The monthly rent for which varies from somewhere between Rs 7,000 to Rs 35,000 per month as per the location and the space dedicated to a particular vend.
'Welspun Projects Limited', a private company, allocated the shopping vends inside the bus stand premises to various contractors on lease more than seven years ago, the contract for which is renewed every year.
Adding to the woes of the passengers are the kiosks that have encroached upon the walking area, causing a huge inconvenience to pedestrians.
Although the issue of encroachments was highlighted by Hindustan Times earlier, but nothing substantial has been done by the authorities concerned in this regard.
Manager, Operations and Maintenance, Welspun Projects Limited, Surendar Singh Pannu said, "We have dedicated contact numbers displayed at different corners of the bus stand premises for convenience of the passengers. We do not receive complaints for overcharging often, but will keep an eye for the violators and ensure that they get tough punishment."